Contact us: +61 8 8303 0961
Office for Women

Aboriginal women and the vote

Aboriginal men living in South Australia had the right to vote since the passing of the South Australian Constitution in 1856.

While the right to vote was extended to South Australian Aboriginal women and men in 1894, they were often not informed of this right or encouraged to enrol to vote. In some cases, Aboriginal people were actively discouraged from enrolling or voting.

The 1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act removed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s right to vote in Federal elections. While this was reinstated in 1962 through the Commonwealth Electoral Act, it was not until 1967 that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were recognised as Australian citizens and given full citizenship rights.

It is important that we acknowledge the hurt, shame and disrespect of this disenfranchising of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the ongoing racism and disempowerment they experience.

If you would like to know more about the history of voting in South Australia visit https://www.aec.gov.au/indigenous/milestones.htm

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

If you, or anyone you, know needs support contact Lifeline on 13 11 24 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36.

Useful links

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that these websites may contain images or names of people who have passed away.

Here are some other useful links with information about the history of Aboriginal people and voting:

ABC News article titled 'South Australia's history of voting rights for Aboriginal Australians'

Creative Spirits webpage titled 'Voting Rights for Aboriginal People'.

Electoral milestones for Indigenous Australians

Pat Stretton paper titled 'Indigenous People and the Vote'

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS .

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
URL:
http://officeforwomen.sa.gov.au/womens-policy/125th-anniversary-of-suffrage/aboriginal-women-and-the-vote
Last Updated:
16 May 2017
Printed on:
11 Dec 2018
The Office for Women website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016